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Overview on urban and peri-urban agriculture: definition, impact on human health, constraints and policy issues

To collate and synthesize current knowledge of components of urban agriculture (UA) with a thematic emphasis on human health impact and a geographic emphasis on East Africa. Data management followed a structured approach in which key issues were first identified and then studies selected through literature search and personal communication. Evidence-based principles. Urban agriculture is an important source of food security for urban dwellers in East Africa. Descriptors of UA are location, areas, activities, scale, products, destinations, stakeholders and motivation. Many zoonotic and food-borne diseases have been associated with UA but evidence on human health impact and management is lacking. Major constraints to UA are illegality and lack of access to input and market; policy options have been developed for overcoming these. Urban agriculture is an important activity and likely to remain so. Both positive and negative human health impacts are potentially important but more research is needed to understand these and set appropriate policy and support levels.